Male Pattern Boldness is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!



Dec 16, 2018

Finishing Up My Haute Couture Construction Class


Goodness, where has the time gone?!

My Haute Couture Construction Class at FIT, which started at the end of August, finishes this coming Tuesday (December 18).  I've enjoyed it quite a bit, even though I was a little disappointed at first that we'd all be making the same skirt and jacket in the same size.  Fortunately it's a size that fits my cousin Cathy (more or less) and I hope she'll be willing to model this raspberry wool tweed ensemble for you sometime soon.

You may recall that we started with the straight skirt, which has three decorative exterior darts on each side, side pockets, and a back slit.  It also has a wide (4" at its widest) shaped waistband which is fully lined with my heavy poly-blend lining material I purchased at Metro Textiles (the wool tweed is from Mood).


As you can see in the top pic, the waistband has two hook-and-eye closures as well as belt loops that lie flat when the skirt is being worn but are loose enough to hang on a hanger when not being worn.

After we finished the skirt, we started on the jacket.  Below is Kenneth King's finished sample.  The jacket is completely interlined with hair canvas, including the sleeves (yes, I know: it makes for rather stiff sleeves).  The front edges meet at center front and there are no closures nor are there pockets.  Below the waistline the jacket flares quite dramatically.



Kenneth King didn't create the syllabus for the course, nor the pattern (unfortunately). 

I used a lightweight hair canvas throughout.  Due to the thickness of my fabric, rather than create a balanced dart, I cut mine open in the center, trimmed away the extra hair canvas, pressed, and stitched down the dart edges to keep things neat.  Same for all the seam allowances.  This can be done with a catch stitch or a pad-type stitch that keeps things in place equally well but uses less thread.
 



Needless to say, all pressing done from the right side is done with a press cloth.  Mine is a piece of silk organza.

The facings are reinforced with both hair canvas and layers of hair cloth: the stiffness is necessary to keep the shape of the standing collar.  In addition, there are shaping darts at the top of the facings, as well as a separate shaped back neck facing piece.



After attaching the facings, we sewed on the sleeves, shoulder pads (purchased), and sleeve heads (we made these ourselves out of our fashion fabric).



I originally lined my sleeves with the same lining I used for the skirt and the rest of the jacket but it proved too thick, so I replaced it with some poly charmeuse from my stash.  I kicked myself for not doing this from the get-go since I had a feeling the thick poly wouldn't work.  Oh, well...

On the left, the original sleeve lining; on the right, the thinner off-white charmeuse.

I wasn't sure what kind of cuff buttons I wanted (on this jacket they are only decorative, not functional). I ended up using a vintage Dritz kit to make covered buttons.



There's still pressing to be done but here's a peek at how the outfit looks so far.


And that's it!   Hopefully I'll have a photo shoot to share before year's end.

Happy sewing, everybody!

22 comments:

  1. You're the expert on vintage, what decade do you think it is? It looks great. You have a definite talent for tailoring. I am glad you used the covered buttons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think the pattern was intended to look old, though it does echo the Dior New Look silhouette a little.

      Delete
  2. I too am glad that you decided in favor of the covered buttons. The suit has a great deal going on stylewise, and the buttons blend and complement rather than compete. The bright pink is a very good color for a brunette. Cathy will look lovely. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lovely! And your skills are amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well done, Peter. Can't wait to see Cathy bring it to life.
    Spud

    ReplyDelete
  5. beautiful! Cathy's a lucky lady!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Cathy in high collar; glancing, glaring, gossiping, sharing.

    Don't suppose she'll give us some stage door poses, or a traipse by Pier 57 (breakfast at Neiman-Marcus?), or Cathy smartly eyeing fabric, findings, and food carts in the Garment District...

    She'll surely be dressed for whatever, and whomever, the day throws her way.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A very lovely suit! I agree that the self covered buttons were the way to go. I was wondering about the logic of interlining sleeves with hair canvas because of the added stiffness. Was this to practice some couture techniques?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know: we were told to do it this way. Frankly, I think silk organza would have been more effective.

      Delete
    2. I agree Peter, when I was at FIT, we backed the entire jacket with silk organza & cross-stitched the hair canvas that was used to it. This also provided a smooth surface for the outer fabric to lay against & drape properly....but, this kind of tailoring is an art, and there are many techniques, so you just have to go with works best for you and the kind of fabric your are working with...…..

      Delete
  8. This project/class is having the same effect that the Shaeffer and King books have had on me: a greater desire to spend more time developing a project and executing the details with love and attention.
    You leap from strength to strength, my dear.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lovely - looks late 1940's. Just couple it up with a matching silver Cadillac of the same era and wow.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gorgeous fabric and great photos! Cathy is one lucky gal to have you making clothes to flatter her figure while learning all new tricks in tailoring. I love Kenneth King and have all his videos!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Peter, forgive me for going slightly off subject, but the discussion of sleeve heads reminded me of a jacket I made around 1990. That was the era of wide shoulders and wide at the top sleeves that tapered to more normal width at the wrist. I came across (as part of a pattern or somewhere else?) instructions for making something that was like a sleeve head but wide enough to fall to just above the elbow. Its purpose was to provide support to a sleeve which was much wider than the arm beneath it. It worked, and I have used the technique from time to time since. Are you familiar with this, and do you know what it is called?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It’s hard for me to picture. A lantern sleeve perhaps?

      Delete
  12. Cudos on your suit - it's gorgeous! Cathy is very fortunate to have you as a tailor! How did you make your sleeve head? Could you direct me to where you got the directions? I really like to that you used the suiting material to make it! Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kenneth King explained how to make the sleeve head in a recent Instagram post )from last week). His Instagram account is @kennethdking.

      Delete
  13. Fabulous. I'm glad you went with the covered buttons.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails